28 January 2014

It's In Your Nature

Currently pushing: There’s a lot of animal documentaries out there but if you’re looking for one that will knock your socks off, possibly in contention for the G.O.A.T. of animal docs, try out Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas, currently available on Netflix (and Youtube). In a shocker, it’s not narrated by David Attenborough but that’s its only flaw. It’s not hyperbole when I say this but the plot twists in this hour long documentary are pretty shocking. I couldn’t figure out if my allegiance was with Simba and Nala or the combo of Banzai, Shenzi, and Ed. I'm not the only one who thinks this might be the greatest animal doc of all time.

One of the games we used to play alot when sitting around was the Animal Game. Simply put, it was just picking a letter and then going around naming off an animal starting with that letter. If you couldn’t think of one, you were out. It had never occured to me to use hybrid animals in this game but after reading up on zebroids and zorses, I’m ready. Plus, add these to the least of useful animals: Irrawaddy dolphin, mangalitsa, and quagga.

For years I’ve been using this app, CheckWord, to look up acceptable Scrabble words. The lite version is free and the reason why it’s so good is because it simple declares a word “good” or “bad.” In this case, “zebroid” is acceptable while “zorse” is not. I bet playing Scrabble with zoo keepers and cryptozoologists must be the best.

And speaking of cryptozoologists, this article about the coelacanth is wonderful, “A Fish For Our Time.” Anything that can be described like this must be amazing:

"I picked away the layers of slime to reveal the most beautiful fish I had ever seen… It was five feet long, a pale, mauvey blue with faint flecks of whitish spots and an iridescent silver-blue-green sheen all over. It was covered in hard scales, and it had four limb-like fins and a strange little puppy-dog tail. It was such a beautiful fish -- more like a big china ornament -- but I didn’t know what it was.”
And if you’re looking for a book about the history of North American wildlife, have I got a book recommendation for you: Wildlife in America. Originally published in 1959, naturalist Peter Matthiessen takes us through forests, oceans, plains, prairies, and mountains, explaining how humans (and oftentimes our legislation) decimated our native animal populations. The book also contains lots of of great black and white drawings by Bob Hines. I picked it up from the cheapo rack outside The Strand and it was my go-to bathroom book. You know, the one you take with you while you’re um, going to the bathroom. Or brushing your teeth. Anyway, best dollar I spent last year.

This is not stricly animal related but there’s a Bronies doc out right now. Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (also available on Netflix). And accompanying Grantland article, "The Internet Is Magic: Exploring the Wonderful World of My Little Pony Fandom in Bronies (2013)."

Last thing, take a look at Eclyse the zorse. Not a fake. The world is a wonderful place.